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Gary Thorne (born June 9, 1948 in Bangor, Maine) is a play-by-play announcer for ESPN and ABC, working Major League Baseball, college football and Frozen Four hockey contests. He is also the television play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles.

Background Edit

Thorne has called some of the most memorable games in Stanley Cup Playoff history, and his voice is one of the most recognizable to hockey fans in the United States. He was almost always paired along with analyst Bill Clement during hockey telecasts. NBC enlisted Thorne to call the hockey tournament with Bill Clement during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

After graduating from the University of Maine in 1970 , University of Maine School of Law in 1973, and Georgetown Law School in 1976 (while paying tuition as a sportscaster/disc jockey), Thorne became Bangor district attorney and joined the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. But eventually, Thorne found courtrooms dull when compared to broadcasting. In 1977, Thorne called hockey games for Augusta radio and television. By 1984, Thorne had enough leverage with baseball's Triple-A Maine Guides to name himself a co-owner.

Thorne's son-in-law, Damian DiGiulian, is an assistant coach for the University of Vermont hockey team; Maine (Thorne's alma mater) and Vermont are rivals in the Hockey East conference of Division I hockey.

Career Edit

Thorne rose to prominence in Maine broadcasting when he began calling play-by-play for the University of Maine's hockey games for Bangor radio station WABI. As the voice of the Hockey Black Bears, he quickly became one of the most recognizable radio voices in the state.

In 1985, Thorne began a four year stint as a radio announcer for the New York Mets. Thorne was present in the booth at Shea Stadium along with Bob Murphy for the now famous sixth game of the 1986 World Series between the Mets and Boston Red Sox. Thorne was one of the first people to criticize the Red Sox for leaving ill-fated Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner out in the 10th inning over Dave Stapleton.

He continued to call Maine hockey games during winter months until 1987 (simultaneously with his work for the Mets in the summer from 1985) when the lure of doing play-by-play in the NHL became too strong for Thorne to ignore. From 1987-1993, Thorne served as the play-by-play voice of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. By this time, Thorne's hockey duties started to conflict his job with the Mets so he left New York in favor of a one year stint with the Chicago White Sox. In 1989, Thorne was named a back up play-by-play announcer (behind Al Michaels) for ABC's Thursday Night Baseball telecasts with Joe Morgan. Thorne also served as a field reporter for the World Series and covered the World Series Trophy presentation for ABC. Like his ABC Sports colleagues, Al Michaels, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver, and Joe Morgan, Thorne was at San Francisco's Candlestick Park when the infamous Loma Prieta earthquake hit on October 17, 1989. Template:See also From 1997 until 2003, Gary Thorne served as the play-by-play man for the World Series on Armed Forces Radio/Major League Baseball International-TV.[1][2] He has also called ABC's coverage of the Capital One Bowl. In 2005 when ESPN dropped out of the bidding for NHL hockey games, Gary Thorne began doing play-by-play for baseball and college football on ESPN. Template:See also As of 2007, he is the play-by-play TV announcer for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's Baltimore Orioles games. He is known for his signature calls of "Goodbye! Home run!" and "Mercy!" Thorne's voice is heard in Pepsi commercials featuring New York Yankee Johnny Damon, the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer and MLB umpire Laz Diaz. He also is a play-by-play TV announcer for the Little League World Series on ESPN during the month of August.

Controversy Edit

In September 2002, Thorne reportedly talked of dissension in the Mets clubhouse between manager Bobby Valentine and the team's players. "There are a lot of guys down there (in the dugout) who don't like him," a New York Daily News columnist quotes Thorne as having said. "They don't like playing for him. And if there has ever been a Teflon manager, he's it. Nothing seems to stick. He's never responsible for anything."[3]

In 2004, Thorne wrote an article for The Bangor Daily News in which he described the National Basketball Association as "quickly becoming the nation's most expensive gang, if not the most dangerous." [4]

The article attracted derision from some corners, with some people, a majority of whom were African American, viewing the comments as 'code' and/or racist. The comments did not attract a firestorm outside of online discussion boards and were never picked up by the national media. Thorne has not spoken about them publicly. Template:Details

Memorable calls Edit

Thorne called Mario Lemieux's last home game before his first retirement on April 26, 1997, a playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Arguably, the game's greatest player scored another dramatic goal with a minute to go in his final home game.

"Back to the point. Desjardins. Mario blocked it. Lemieux heading up ice. HERE HE COMES. HERE HE COMES. MARIO LEMIEUX. HANG ON. HE SCORES!!! YOU GOTTA LOVE IT!!!"


One of the greatest games he covered was Game 6 of the 1994 NHL Eastern Conference Finals between the New York Rangers and the New Jersey Devils, it was a game in which Mark Messier guaranteed a Rangers win. He called the game on ESPN.

"Leetch drops it, Kovalev again, save Brodeur--rebound, scores!!! Mark Messier gets his second goal, the Rangers lead 3-2."

"John MacLean center, for the open net, Mark Messier, DO YOU BELIEVE IT!!! DO YOU BELIEVE IT!!! He said we will win Game 6, he has just picked up a hat trick."

A few weeks later, Thorne called Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. At the final horn, he was able to tell most of the country outside of the New York area (who watched the game on MSG Network) and the border cities (who, along with Canadians, watched the game on the CBC) that the Rangers had ended a 54-year Stanley Cup drought.

"1.6 away from the Cup, Pavel Bure...It's over!! THE RANGERS WIN THE CUP, THE RANGERS WIN THE CUP! THE CURSE IS OVER! They've done it!"

Another memorable NHL game Thorne called was Game 7 of the 1996 Western Conference Semifinals between the Detroit Red Wings and the St. Louis Blues. This game was won in double overtime, on a blue line slapshot by Steve Yzerman.

"Gretzky had it, lost it. Yzerman picks it up. Yzerman moving, blue line chance--SCOOOOORES!!!!!!! Steve Yzerman!!! Detroit wins!!!"

Thorne also called Game 6 of the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals (June 19, 1999) between the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabres, when Brett Hull scored the cup-clinching "controversial" goal for the Stars in overtime.

"Loose puck. Hull...shot...SCORE! SCORE! SCORE! THE DALLAS STARS! Brett Hull! They've won the Stanley Cup! Deep in the heart of Texas, the Stars are shining!"

On March 23rd, 1994, Thorne also called the Los Angeles Kings vs. Vancouver Canucks game where Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd career goal, passing Gordie Howe and becoming the NHL's all time leading scorer.

"McSorley... to Gretzky... SCORES!!! HE DID IT! HE DID IT! The greatest goal scorer in National Hockey League history is Wayne Gretzky!"

One of the most memorable calls in baseball history came when Thorne called Game 2 of the 1995 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners. The game was especially important because it was the first playoff series held in historic Yankee Stadium since 1981 and was also the first playoff series for beloved Yankee captain Don Mattingly. Mattingly stepped to plate during in a tie game and Thorne made the call: (before the pitch) "The fans want a dinger out of him...This one by Mattingly, OH HANG ON TO THE ROOF...GOODBYE, HOME RUN! DON MATTINGLY!!!" (Note: It would be the only postseason home run of Mattingly's career and the last home game he would ever play in)

"...and after twenty-two years, RAYMOND BOURQUE!"--After Joe Sakic of the Colorado Avalanche accepted the Stanley Cup (after his team defeated the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals) and gave it immediately to veteran Ray Bourque, who spent 22 years with Boston and Colorado waiting for his chance to win the cup.

Thorne also called Barry Bonds's record-breaking 71st home run of 2001, one more of Mark McGuire's 70 in 1998. Here was the call: "|Bonds hits it! Deep to right field! Way back! Is this the one?! THERE'S A NEW RECORD HOMER!!! The single season mark is 71!! Barry Bonds has the title!"

The following three calls are from the 2001 World Series, between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees:

"Fly ball, center field. It is way back, at the wall...GOODBYE, HOME RUN!!! TINO MARTINEZ!!!"--After Martinez's two run home run with two out in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.}}

"That one hit in the air to left field. DO YOU BELIEVE IT?!! GOODBYE, HOME RUN!!! THEY HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!!! THIS GAME IS TIED!!!!"--Thorne's call after Yankee Scott Brosius did the exact same thing the following night (Game 5).}}

"That one hit in the air to center field, IT'S OVER! THE DIAMONDBACKS, ON A GONZALEZ SINGLE, ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!"--Thorne's call after the Diamondbacks' Luis GonzalezTemplate:Dn hit a game winning-single to clinch the first World Series victory in Diamondbacks history (Game 7)}}

In his most recognizable football broadcast to date, Thorne called the final moments of the 2005 Capital One Bowl, won by Iowa over Louisiana State University on a 66 yard touchdown pass on the final play. "Tate...wants to go deep for the touchdown, a man open at the 20, it is caught! 10! 5! TOUCHDOWN! HOLLOWAY! OH MY! And they're on the field, the clock...has expired!"

Gary Thorne worked the International Semifinals in the 2007 Little League World Series. In the game between Curacao and Venezuela, Deion Rosalia of the Curacao team hit a walk-off 3-run home run in the bottom of the 7th to give Curacao the upset win over Venezuela. The dramatic call made by Gary Thorne went like this. (note: the standard length of a Little League World Series game is 6 innings)

"Rosalia takes that one to right field. That is way back. AND IT'S GONE! A GAME-WINNING HOME RUN! CURACAO WINS IT! EXTRA INNINGS! BOTTOM OF THE 7TH!"

External linksEdit

  1. Gary Thorne Disses the NBA
  2. ABC Sports - Gary Thorne

ReferencesEdit

  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Raissman, Bob. "Gary lands in another Thorne-y situation", 2007-04-27. Retrieved on 2007-06-11. 
  4. Template:Cite web

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